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04.26.18

Links 26/4/2018: KStars 2.9.5, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, NetBSD 8.0 RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Native Linux apps in Chrome OS will have a slick, electric Material Design theme

      The Chrome OS developers have been working out the stylistic elements of what you’ll see once you open your first native Linux apps in Chrome OS, and they’ve opted for Adapta, a popular Material Design-inspired Gtk theme that can be used on many of your favorite GNU/Linux distributions.

      For those of you not keeping track, the Chrome OS developers have been busy baking native container functionality into Chrome OS that allows the user-friendly startup of regular Linux applications in containers-within-VMs. This project, codename “Crostini,” is the largest change to Chrome OS since Android apps were introduced. Containers allow for applications to run in their own dedicated environment in isolation of the host OS – like a virtual machine, except unlike a VM, it doesn’t virtualize the whole OS to make the application work, it just bundles up the application and necessary baggage into an executable package.

  • Server

    • 3 questions about Kata Containers answered

      Kata Containers is a new open source project licensed under Apache 2.0 and governed by the OpenStack Foundation that combines the speed of containers with the security of virtual machines. Kata Containers will be featured in a number of upcoming sessions at OpenStack Summit and KubeCon EU. Can’t make it to either of those events? We’ve brought you answers to three of the top questions we hear from users.

    • What Stratis learned from ZFS, Btrfs, and Linux Volume Manager

      The reasons vary. First, let’s consider ZFS. Originally developed by Sun Microsystems for Solaris (now owned by Oracle), ZFS has been ported to Linux. However, its CDDL-licensed code cannot be merged into the GPL-licensed Linux source tree. Whether CDDL and GPLv2 are truly incompatible is a subject for debate, but the uncertainty is enough to make enterprise Linux vendors unwilling to adopt and support it.

      Btrfs is also well-established and has no licensing issues. For years it was the “Chosen One” for many users, but it just hasn’t yet gotten to where it needs to be in terms of stability and features.

      So, fuelled by a desire to improve the status quo and frustration with existing options, Stratis was conceived.

    • Heptio Debuts Gimbal Kubernetes Load Balancer Project

      Kubernetes startup Heptio has added another project to its roster of open-source efforts that provide expanded capabilities for container orchestration users.

    • Heptio Launches Kubernetes Load Balancing Application
    • The Role of Site Reliability Engineering in Microservices

      You can always spot the hot jobs in technology: they’re the ones that didn’t exist 10 years ago. While Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) did definitely exist a decade ago, they were mostly inside Google and a handful of other Valley innovators. Today, however, the SRE role exists everywhere, from Uber to Goldman Sachs, everyone is now in the business of keeping their sites online and stable.

      While SREs are hotshots in the industry, their role in a microservices environment is not just a natural fit that goes hand-in-hand, like peanut butter and jelly. Instead, while SREs and microservices evolved in parallel inside the world’s software companies, the former actually makes life far more difficult for the latter.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Lying with statistics, distributions, and popularity contests on Cooking With Linux (without a net)

      It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for Cooking With Linux (without a net), sponsored and supported by Linux Journal. Today, I’m courting controversy by discussing numbers, OS popularity, and how to pick the right Linux distribution if you want to be where are the beautiful people hang out. And yes, I’ll do it all live, without a net, and with a high probability of falling flat on my face.

  • Kernel Space

    • The rhashtable documentation I wanted to read

      The rhashtable data structure is a generic resizable hash-table implementation in the Linux kernel, which LWN first introduced as “relativistic hash tables” back in 2014. I thought at the time that it might be fun to make use of rhashtables, but didn’t, until an opportunity arose through my work on the Lustre filesystem. Lustre is a cluster filesystem that is currently in drivers/staging while the code is revised to meet upstream requirements. One of those requirements is to avoid duplicating similar functionality where possible. As Lustre contains a resizable hash table, it really needs to be converted to use rhashtables instead — at last I have my opportunity.

      It didn’t take me long to discover that the rhashtable implementation in Linux 4.15 is quite different from the one that originally landed in Linux 3.17, so the original LWN introduction is now barely relevant. I also quickly discovered that the in-kernel documentation was partially wrong, far from complete, and didn’t provide any sort of “getting started” guide. Nevertheless I persisted and eventually developed a fairly complete understanding of the code, which seems worth sharing. This article gives an introduction to the use of the rhashtable interfaces without getting into too many internal implementation details. A followup will explain how rhashtables work internally and show how some of the mechanism details leak though the interfaces.

    • The second half of the 4.17 merge window

      By the time the 4.17 merge window was closed and 4.17-rc1 was released, 11,769 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository. 4.17 thus looks to be a typically busy development cycle, with a merge window only slightly more busy than 4.16 had. Some 6,000 of those changes were pulled after last week’s summary was written.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Developers: Prepare Your Drivers for Real-Time Linux

        Although Real-Time Linux (RT Linux) has been a staple at Embedded Linux Conferences for years — here’s a story on the RT presentations in 2007 — many developers have viewed the technology to be peripheral to their own embedded projects. Yet as RT, enabled via the PREEMPT_RT patch, prepares to be fully integrated into the mainline kernel, a wider circle of developers should pay attention. In particular, Linux device driver authors will need to ensure that their drivers play nice with RT-enabled kernels.

        At the recent Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, National Instruments software engineer Julia Cartwright, an acting maintainer on a stable release of the RT patch, gave a well-attended presentation called “What Every Driver Developer Should Know about RT.” Cartwright started with an overview of RT, which helps provide guarantees for user task execution for embedded applications that require a high level of determinism. She then described the classes of driver-related problems that can have a detrimental impact to RT, as well as potential resolutions.

        One of the challenges of any real-time operating system is that most target applications have two types of tasks: those with real-time requirements and latency sensitivity, and those for non-time critical tasks such as disk monitoring, throughput, or I/O. “The two classes of tasks need to run together and maybe communicate with one another with mixed criticality,” explained Cartwright. “You must resolve two different degrees of time sensitivity.”

        One solution is to split the tasks by using two different hardware platforms. “You could have an Arm Cortex-R, FPGA, or PLD based board for super time-critical stuff, and then a Cortex-A series board with Linux,” said Cartwright. “This offers the best isolation, but it raises the per unit costs, and it’s hard to communicate between the domains.”

      • Clarifying the Linux Real Time Issue

        I recently posted an article about the increasing development and availability of Linux-powered automation devices. This is a clear industry trend that’s unavoidable for anyone following the automation technology industry.

        Shortly after posting the article, I heard from a reader who wrote: “I read your article and I am surprised that you would promote the idea that anyone would use Linux for anything critical. It isn’t even a real-time control system. It can be used for non-critical applications, but the article implies that industry is adopting it for everything.”

        This reader brings up a valid point. Linux is not a real-time OS in and of itself. As Vibhoosh Gupta of GE Automation & Controls noted in the original article, GE uses “Type 1 hypervisor technology to run a real-time OS, such as VxWorks, running traditional control loops alongside our PAC Edge technology operating on Linux.”

        [...]

        The Linux Foundation launched the RTL (Real Time Linux) Collaborative Project in October 2015. According to the Foundation, the project was “founded by industry experts to advance technologies for the robotics, telecom, manufacturing and medical industries. The aim of the RTL collaborative project is mainlining the PREEMPT_RT patch.”

        While there are plenty of mission critical applications running Linux OS with real-time extensions—as highlighted by GE, Opto and Wago—the Linux Foundation notes on its site that there remains “much work to be done.”

      • Linux Launches Deep Learning Foundation For Open Source Growth In AI

        The Linux Foundation has launched the LF Deep Learning Foundation, an umbrella organisation which will support and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. The organisation will strive to make these critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere, said a statement published by LF.

        Founding members of LF Deep Learning include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa, and ZTE, among others. LF Deep Learning, members are working to create a neutral space where makers and sustainers of tools and infrastructure can interact and harmonise their efforts and accelerate the broad adoption of deep learning technologies.

      • OpenTracing: Distributed Tracing’s Emerging Industry Standard

        What was traditionally known as just Monitoring has clearly been going through a renaissance over the last few years. The industry as a whole is finally moving away from having Monitoring and Logging silos – something we’ve been doing and “preaching” for years – and the term Observability emerged as the new moniker for everything that encompasses any form of infrastructure and application monitoring. Microservices have been around for a over a decade under one name or another. Now often deployed in separate containers it became obvious we need a way to trace transactions through various microservice layers, from the client all the way down to queues, storage, calls to external services, etc. This created a new interest in Transaction Tracing that, although not new, has now re-emerged as the third pillar of observability.

      • There’s a Server in Every Serverless Platform [Ed: "Serverless" is a lie. It's a server. One that you do not control; one/s that control/s you. Even Swapnil finally or belatedly gets it. The LF really likes buzzwords.]

        Serverless computing or Function as a Service (FaaS) is a new buzzword created by an industry that loves to coin new terms as market dynamics change and technologies evolve. But what exactly does it mean? What is serverless computing?

      • Take the Open Source Job Survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation

        Interest in hiring open source professionals is on the rise, with more companies than ever looking for full-time hires with open source skills and experience. To gather more information about the changing landscape and opportunities for developers, administrators, managers, and other open source professionals, Dice and The Linux Foundation have partnered to produce two open source jobs surveys — designed specifically for hiring managers and industry professionals.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Jim Keller Reportedly Joins Intel After AMD, Tesla Stint

        Legendary CPU designer Jim Keller has reportedly joined Intel following his brief stint at Tesla after leading the Zen team at AMD.

      • AMDGPU Linux Kernel Driver Gets Patches For Vega M Support – Intel Kabylake G

        Earlier this month Vega M support came to RadeonSI OpenGL, with Vega M being the Radeon graphics found within Intel’s Kabylake G processors. There was then Vega M support for the RADV Vulkan driver but these user-space drivers won’t work without the kernel bits and now there is that support with 32 AMDGPU DRM patches.

        Alex Deucher of AMD last night mailed out the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver patches for supporting accelerated graphics on Vega M / Kabylake G. These patches are fairly straight-forward and mostly involve support for loading new firmware files for “VegaM” and then mostly taking the driver’s existing Polaris code-paths. Yes, the GPU for Intel is advertised as being part of the “Vega” family, but from the RadeonSI/RADV/AMDGPU driver patches, the indications are that it’s really more in common with Polaris at least from the driver perspective.

      • NVIDIA 396.18.05 Linux Vulkan Driver Released With Fixes

        Just a week after the NVIDIA 396.18.02 Linux driver beta is an updated Linux driver build (and for Windows too).

      • X.Org Server 1.20 Git Corrects DRI3 Fallout For Non-Modesetting DDX Drivers

        With the recent release candidates to the long overdue X.Org Server 1.20, OpenGL rendering has been broken when using DDX drivers like Intel and Nouveau rather than the generic xf86-video-modesetting. That was fixed today.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 3 Students Accepted for Google Summer of Code 2018

        Since 2006, we have had the opportunity for Google to sponsor students to help out with Krita. For 2018 we have 3 talented students working over the summer. Over the next few months they will be getting more familiar with the Krita code base and working on their projects. They will be blogging about their experience and what they are learning along the way. We will be sure to share any progress or information along the way.

        Here is a summary of their projects and what they hope to achieve.

      • Plasma widgets – Beltway Bandit Unlimited

        The concept of addons is an interesting one. At some point over the past decade or two, companies developing (successful) software realized that bundling an ever-growing code base into their products in order to meet the spiraling tower of requests from their users would result in unsustainable bloat and complexity that would not warrant the new functionality. And so, the idea of addons was born.

        Addons come in many flavors – extensions, plugins, applets, scripts, and of course, widgets. A large number of popular programs have incorporated them, and when done with style, the extra functionality becomes as important as the core application itself. Examples that come to mind: Firefox, Notepad++, VLC, Blender. And then, there’s the Plasma desktop environment. Since inception, KDE has prided itself on offering complete solutions, and the last incarnation of its UI framework is no different. Which begs the question, what, how and why would anyone need Plasma widgets? We explore.

        [...]

        Conclusion

        A good mean needs no seasoning, indeed. And Plasma is a proof of that, with the widgets the best example. Remarkably, this desktop environment manages to juggle the million different usage needs and create a balanced compromise that offers pretty much everything without over-simplifying the usage in any particular category. It’s a really amazing achievement, because normally, the sum of all requests is a boring, useless muddle.

        Plasma’s default showing is rich, layered, complex yet accessible, and consistent. And that means it does not really need any widgets. This shows. The extras are largely redundant, with some brilliant occasional usage models here and there, but nothing drastic or critical that you don’t get out of the box. This makes Plasma different from most other addons-blessed frameworks, as they do significantly benefit from the extras, and in some cases, the extensions and plugins are critical in supplementing the missing basics.

        And so, if you wonder, whether you’ll embark on a wonderful journey of discovery and fun with Plasma widgets, the answer is no. Plasma offers 99% of everything you may need right there, and the extras are more to keep people busy rather than give you anything cardinal. After all, if it’s missing, it should be an integral part of the desktop environment, and the KDE folks know this. So if you’re disappointed with this article, don’t be. It means the baseline is solid, and that’s where you journey of wonders and adventure should and will be focused.

      • My KDE PIM Update

        This blog post is long overdue, but now that I’m back home from the KDE PIM Sprint in Toulouse, which took place last weekend, there’s some more news to report.

      • KDAB at QtDay 2018

        QtDay is the yearly Italian conference about Qt and Qt-related technologies. Its 2018 edition (the seventh so far!) will be once more in the beautiful city of Florence, on May 23 and 24. And, once more, KDAB will be there.

      • Google Summer of Code 2018 with KDE

        It’s been 2 days since the GSoC accepted student list was announced and I’m still getting goosebumps thinking about the moment I saw my name on the website.

        I started contributing to open source after attending a GSoC session in our college by one of our senior and a previous GSoC student with KDE: Aroonav Mishra. I was very inspired by the program and that defined the turning point of my life.

        [...]

        Then I came across GCompris and it caught my eye. I started contributing to it and the mentors are really very helpful and supportive. They always guided me whenever I needed any help or was stuck at anything. Under their guidance, I learnt many things during the period of my contributions. I had never thought I would get this far.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Dependencies with code generators got a lot smoother with Meson 0.46.0

        Most dependencies are libraries. Almost all build systems can find dependency libraries from the system using e.g. pkg-config. Some can build dependencies from source. Some, like Meson, can do both and toggle between them transparently. Library dependencies might not be a fully solved problem but we as a community have a fairly good grasp on how to make them work.

        However there are some dependencies where this is not enough. A fairly common case is to have a dependency that has some sort of a source code generator. Examples of this include Protocol Buffers, Qt’s moc and glib-mkenums and other tools that come with Glib. The common solution is to look up these binaries from PATH. This works for dependencies that are already installed on the system but fails quite badly when the dependencies are built as subprojects. Bootstrapping is also a bit trickier because you may need to write custom code in the project that provides the executables.

      • Expanding Amtk to support GUIs with headerbar

        I initially created the Amtk library to still be able to conveniently create a traditional UI without using deprecated GTK+ APIs, for GNOME LaTeX. But when working on Devhelp (which has a modern UI with a GtkHeaderBar) I noticed that some pieces of information were duplicated in order to create the menus and the GtkShortcutsWindow.

      • GLib/GIO async operations and Rust futures + async/await

        Unfortunately I was not able to attend the Rust+GNOME hackfest in Madrid last week, but I could at least spend some of my work time at Centricular on implementing one of the things I wanted to work on during the hackfest. The other one, more closely related to the gnome-class work, will be the topic of a future blog post once I actually have something to show.

      • Introducing Chafa
      • Infra Hackfest
      • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 3 (conclusion)

        I’m back home now, jetlagged but very happy that gnome-class is in a much more advanced a state than it was before the hackfest. I’m very thankful that practically everyone worked on it!

      • GNOME loves Rust Hackfest in Madrid

        The last week was the GNOME loves Rust hackfest in Madrid. I was there, only for the first two days, but was a great experience to meet the people working with Rust in GNOME a great community with a lot of talented people.

      • GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 Now Works With Elogind, Allows For Wayland On Non-Systemd Distros

        GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 has been released as the first development snapshot of this window manager / compositor in the trek towards GNOME 3.30.

        Mutter 3.29.1 overshot the GNOME 3.29.1 release by one week, but for being a first development release of a new cycle has some pretty interesting changes. Among the work found in Mutter 3.29.1 includes:

        - Mutter can now be built with elogind. That is the systemd-logind as its own standalone package. This in turn allows using Mutter with its native Wayland back-end on Linux distributions using init systems besides systemd.

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • What’s New in Calculate Linux 17.22.2

        Calculate Linux 17.12.2 KDE Edition is the latest release of Linux distribution based on Gentoo, Calculate Linux 17.12 series. This release uses KDE plasma 5.11 as default desktop environment, along with KDE Frameworks 5.43 and KDE Applications 17.08.3. Powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.14 series, which means that it offers support for the latest hardware components available on the market. Also include graphical tool for network acces to the Calculate utilities 3 server, Calculate Console 3.5 series.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • What’s New in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

            Have a look at the new features coming to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

          • Welcome To The (Ubuntu) Bionic Age: Behind communitheme: interviewing Aaron

            I’m Aaron Papin and I’m from Trinidad and Tobago. I work at an IT consultancy that specializes in open-source solutions for SMBs. I’m a technician, but I also work in designing and deploying websites and even on ads from time to time. It’s pretty freeform and fun.

            I knew of Linux for years, but I only dove in after a hard drive failure a couple years ago. Because why not at that point? It didn’t take me long to start using it mostly full time (games). Even though I’ve worked on my own themes in the past, I’m still pretty new to the Linux community. Hobby-wise, I really like TV, cooking, video games and keeping fit when I’m not on an “extended break”.

          • Purism and UBports officially collaborate to offer Ubuntu Touch on Librem 5

            Purism and UBports are partnering to offer Ubuntu Touch as a supported operating system on Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone.

            Being able to work with Purism and focus on the Librem 5 hardware platform ensures that the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system developed by UBports will be well supported, tightly integrated, and that future compatibility will remain. When the Librem 5 is delivered to pre-order customers, it will become one of just a few smartphones that support the free and open source operating system.

          • Open Source Smartphone Librem 5 Will Officially Support Ubuntu Touch

            When Canonical decided to halt the development of Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system, it came as a surprise to many. However, due to the lack of interest of smartphone manufacturers and community, this tough decision was taken. Later, UBPorts decided to take up the Ubuntu Touch development work.

          • Purism Partners with UBports to Offer Ubuntu Touch on the Librem 5, Red Hat Storage One Launches and More

            Purism has partnered with UBports to offer Ubuntu Touch on its Librem 5 smartphone. By default, the smartphone runs Purism’s PureOS, which supports GNOME and KDE Plasma mobile interfaces. UBports is ensuring Ubuntu Touch will run on the phones as well, so the Librem 5 can “now offer users three fully free and open mobile operating system options”.

          • Checking Out Ubuntu 18.04′s Hardware/Software Software Survey

            Back in February was the controversial announcement that Canonical would begin offering a hardware/software survey for Ubuntu installations to premiere with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. This week while running some benchmarks of the effectively final release of Bionic Beaver, I noticed they finally got the feature exposed to users. Here’s what it looks like and some of the hardware and software information detailed in these opt-out reports to Canonical.

            Back in February the plan was to add a checkbox (checked by default) where the user could opt-out of the hardware/software survey, but otherwise various system details would be submitted to Canonical’s servers, but they would not be recording the user’s IP address. In the form it’s now in for the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release, it’s not part of the installer but has been punted off to be part of the first-run process when initially logging into your new Ubuntu system – thereby offering the survey to those that may have received Ubuntu through an OEM install, etc.

          • How to Move Ubuntu’s Launcher Bar to the Bottom or Right
          • How to Install and Configure OpenSSH on Ubuntu 16.04
          • How to Manage Docker Containers using Portainer on Ubuntu
          • How to Use Sensu and RabbitMQ on Ubuntu to Monitor Your WordPress Website
          • How to Install PyroCMS on Ubuntu Linux
          • How to Find Packages Owns Specific File on Ubuntu
          • Install Dropbox In Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Server
          • Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04

            This list of things to do after installing Ubuntu 18.04 helps you get started with Bionic Beaver for a smoother desktop experience.

          • How to Upgrade from Ubuntu 17.10 or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            Before we go through the upgrade process in more detail, there are a few things you should know. First and foremost, make sure you have a recent backup of your most important files on an external drive, do it now! Second of all, if you’re upgrading from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, you’ll have to deal with some major desktop changes if you use Unity.

            Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) uses the Unity desktop environment by default, but Ubuntu 18.04 LTS uses the GNOME desktop environment with a highly customized interface to make it look like Unity, which Canonical said it won’t be removed during the upgrade process and will remain available as an alternative if you still want to use it.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is out

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has been released. The new version of Ubuntu is available in Desktop, Server, Cloud and core variants, and it is a long-term support release which means that the Desktop, Server, Core and Kylin releases will be supported for five years until April 2023.

            You can download the release version by following links in the release notes. The main Ubuntu website and download pages have yet to be updated.

            Ubuntu systems running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or Ubuntu 17.10 can be upgraded in the following way

          • 14 Biggest Features Of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

            Ubuntu 18.04 is scheduled to arrive today. When Canonical will offically release the OS, we’ll be updating this article with download links (they’ll be available here). Till then, get to know about all the biggest Ubuntu 18.04 features.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What Do High School Students Know or Understand about Open Source Software?

    Only 20 years after the label “Open Source” was coined, the entire tech ecosystem has embraced its values of sharing, collaboration and freedom. Although Open Source Software is pervasive to our everyday life, does everyone and especially the younger generation realize how to leverage it?

    Last summer, over the course of 3 weeks, High School students with no prior experience in Computer Science (CS) joined Holberton School’s first Immersion Coding Camp to learn how to code and build their own website.

  • TIBCO Messaging now supports Apache Kafka

    Apache Kafka is a distributed open source publish-subscribe messaging system designed to replace traditional message brokers – as such, it can be classed as a stream-processing software platform. The project aims to provide a unified, high-throughput, low-latency platform for handling real-time data feeds. It is written in the Scala and Java programming languages.

  • Former Nimble CEO Becomes New Leader Of Open-Source Container Vendor Sysdig
  • Propy Announces An Open Source Developer Program and gets listed on Bittrex

    On April 17, 2018, global real estate store with a decentralized title registry Propy announced their open source Developer Program. The news were followed by an announcement from Bittrex, the most popular U.S.-based blockchain trading platform, on listing the PRO token. Propy users need tokens to execute the purchase process for real estate, located in California, as of today.

    The idea behind Propy: it allows anyone to buy or sell real estate, anywhere, online. Propy provides an efficient crypto and fiat payment and an immutable record on the blockchain, ensuring that title deeds and property rights will be there forever.

  • Robo-Taxi Startup Voyage to Make its Autonomous Safety Systems Open Source

    Silicon Valley startup Voyage, which recently launched a pilot autonomous ride-hailing service in two retirement communities in California and Florida, is taken a proactive, safety first approach. Starting today, the company announced today it is opening its safety requirements, test scenarios, metrics, tools, and source code that it has developed for its own autonomous taxis.

  • Voyage open sources its approach to autonomous vehicle safety

    In an effort to improve autonomous vehicle safety, Voyage is open sourcing its Open Autonomous Safety (OAS) library that contains the company’s internal safety procedures, materials, and test code that is intended to supplement the existing safety programs at autonomous vehicle startups. Voyage is the self-driving business from the educational organization Udacity.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox release speed wins

        Sylvestre wrote about how we were able to ship new releases for Nightly, Beta, Release and ESR versions of Firefox for Desktop and Android in less than a day in response to the pwn2own contest.

        People commented on how much faster the Beta and Release releases were compared to the ESR release, so I wanted to dive into the releases on the different branches to understand if this really was the case, and if so, why?

        [..]

        We can see that Firefox 59 and 60.0b4 were significantly faster to run than ESR 52 was! What’s behind this speedup?

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.1 Alpha 1 Is Ready To Roll For Advancing The Open-Source Office

      LibreOffice 6.1 Alpha 1 was tagged overnight as the first development release towards this next updated open-source office suite release succeeding the big LibreOffice 6.0.

      LibreOffice 6.1.0 is set to be released by the middle of August and for that to happen the alpha release has now been hit followed by the beta release this time next month, and the release candidates to come through the month of July. The feature freeze and branching occurs at next month’s beta stage while the hard code freeze is expected for the middle of July.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Should we open source election software?

      Late last year, R. James Woolsey and Brian Fox wrote an op-ed piece about the security benefits of open sourcing election software. Woolsey is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Fox is the creator of several open source components, including the GNU Bash shell, and a board member of the National Association of Voting Officials.

      Woolsey and Fox assert as a main piece of their argument that open source software exposes the code to the larger developer community, allowing many eyes to comb through that code for security vulnerabilities, transparency that makes it more secure than software developed by commercial organizations.

      If the open source model for voting systems gains traction, as the editorial advocates, effective management of open source security will become extremely important. At the 2017 DEF CON 25 convention it took only a few hours for white hat hackers to break into five different voting machines, one via a vulnerability in an open-source component.

      The reality is that all software, whether developed in a transparent manner or otherwise, contains defects. Regardless of available resources and expertise, uncovering a defect can be challenging.

  • Programming/Development

    • Node.js announces the first release in its latest 10.x release line

      Node.js has announced 10.0.0, the first release in its 10.x line. Starting in October 2018, the Node.js 10.x releases will be the new release line with Long Term Support. Releases in the Long Term Support line focus on stability, extended support, and providing a reliable platform for applications of any scale.

    • Enhance your Python with an interactive shell

      The Python programming language has become one of the most popular languages used in IT. One reason for this success is it can be used to solve a variety of problems. From web development to data science, machine learning to task automation, the Python ecosystem is rich in popular frameworks and libraries. This article presents some useful Python shells available in the Fedora packages collection to make development easier.

    • Best Free Python Web Frameworks – Rapid Development

      Python is an increasingly popular programming language. It ranks very highly on sites listing the popularity of programming languages, such as the TIOBE Index, IEEE Spectrum ranking, and the PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language.

      The prominence of Python is, in part, due to its flexibility, with the language frequently used by web and desktop developers, system administrators, data scientists, and machine learning engineers. It’s easy to learn and powerful to develop any kind of system with the language. Python’s large user base offers a virtuous circle. There’s more support available from the open source community for budding programmers seeking assistance.

    • Intel OpenCL NEO Compute Stack Moves To “Production” Quality OpenCL 2.1

      This year Intel open-sourced their “NEO” OpenCL compute stack included a new compute runtime, a new LLVM/Clang-based compiler, makes use of the Intel Graphics Memory Management Library (GMMLIB), etc. While we don’t hear too much from the NEO effort on an ongoing basis, their OpenCL 2.1 support for recent hardware generations is now to production quality.

      From early March was my last reporting and testing on the Intel OpenCL NEO effort in Trying Out The New Intel Open-Source OpenCL NEO Compute Driver.

    • GitLab 10.7 Released with Open Source Web IDE and Extended SAST Support
    • GCC 8.1 RC1 Released, The Big Compiler Update Could Officially Debut Next Week

      This morning I wrote about GCC 8 being branched and development on the master branch now being open for GCC 9.0. The GCC 8.1 release candidate has now been issued with the official release perhaps coming next week.

      Jakub Jelinek of Red Hat announced on the mailing list that they reached zero P1 regressions (the most critical) and less than 100 P2/P3 regressions, so the GCC 8 code was branched. As part of this status report he mentioned that if no show-stopper bugs appear, the developers would like to officially release GCC 8.1.0 by the end of next week or soon thereafter. But if any important fixes come about, a second release candidate may be warranted.

    • GCC 8 Has Been Branched, GCC 9.0 Development On Main

      The GNU Compiler Collection 8 stable release (GCC 8.1) is almost ready to make its debut.

      As of this morning, the GCC 8 code has been branched from master. The branched GCC 8 code is now marked as a pre-release.

Leftovers

  • L.A. Lawmakers Looking To Take Legal Action Against Google For Not Solving Long-Running City Traffic Problems

    The city’s government believes the traffic/mapping app has made Los Angeles’ congestion worse. That the very body tasked with finding solutions to this omnipresent L.A. problem is looking to hold a private third party company responsible for its own shortcomings isn’t surprising. If a third-party app can’t create better traffic flow, what chance do city planners have? But beyond the buck-passing on congestion, the city may have a point about Waze making driving around Los Angeles a bit more hazardous.

    For several months, it’s been noted that Waze has been sending drivers careening down the steepest grade in the city — Baxter Street. Drivers seeking routes around Glendale Ave. traffic choke points have been routed to a street with a 32% grade, increasing the number of accidents located there and generally resulting in barely-controlled mayhem. When any sort of precipitation falls from the sky, the city goes insane. Drivers bypassing Glendale are now hurtling down a steep, water-covered hill, compounding the problem.

  • Even Microsoft’s lost interest in Windows Phone: Skype and Yammer apps killed

    Microsoft’s given users of its collaboration apps on Windows Phone under a month’s warning of their demise.

    A support note from late last week advises that “Windows phone apps for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer are retiring on May 20, 2018.”

    “Retiring” means all three will vanish from the Microsoft store on May 20, with differing results.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Interpol Highlights Takedown Of Deadly Global Fake Food And Drink Operations [Ed: Interpol won’t arrest very rich individuals accused of serious crimes, or even a US President who abused women (then called it ‘fake news’), but it goes after ‘fake food’. If Interpol was serious about food health rather than protecting billionaires' food/beverage corporations from imitation/competition, it would also crack down on drinks with toxic chemicals like Coke ('diet' or otherwise).]

      Weevil-infested flour, deadly methanol added to alcohol, borax to make products seem fresher, pesticide-laced shrimp, fake medicines. Global police organisation Interpol today detailed a multi-agency operation that dismantled nearly 50 criminal networks worldwide that provided fake and substandard food and drink that put people in danger and killed dozens. Operation Opson, as the widespread was called, recovered some 3,620 tonnes and nearly 10 million litres of hazardous fake food and drink, with a value of EUR 55 million, it said in a release.

    • The Flint Water Crisis Isn’t Over

      Four years to the day that the Flint water crisis began, there has been notable progress. Multiple tests, both independent and government-run, have shown average lead levels dropping back below the federal action level as a result of switching the city from the highly corrosive Flint River back to the safe and clean Detroit water system. In response to the testing, Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced that the state would no longer provide free bottled water to the city’s residents, but it would continue to provide water filters free of charge.

      But many of the city’s residents don’t much believe the water’s safe. Who can blame them? Because of decisions made by state-appointed emergency managers and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, they were forced to use water laced with dangerously high levels of lead, a potent neurotoxin, and contaminated by bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease, which claimed at least 12 lives during the 18 months the city used the Flint River as its municipal water source. Despite the concerns voiced by residents and mounting scientific evidence that a massive problem existed, those same officials repeatedly offered assurances that the water was safe and attacked the credibility of those attempting to reveal the truth.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Hackers Leaked The Code Of iPhone Cracking Device “GrayKey”, Attempted Extortion

      The mysterious piece of hardware GrayKey might give a sense of happiness to cops because they can get inside most of the iPhone models currently active, including the iPhone X.

      The $30,000 device is known to crack a 4-digit iPhone passcode in a matter of a few hours, and a six-digit passcode in 3 days, or possibly 11 hours in ideal scenarios. That’s why security experts suggest that iOS users should keep an alphanumeric passcode instead of an all-number passcode.

    • Someone Is Trying to Extort iPhone Crackers GrayShift With Leaked Code

      Law enforcement agencies across the country are buying or have expressed interest in buying GrayKey, a device that can unlock up-to-date iPhones. But Grayshift, the company that makes the device, has attracted some other attention as well.

      Last week, an unknown party quietly leaked portions of GrayKey code onto the internet, and demanded over $15,000 from Grayshift—ironically, the price of an entry-level GrayKey—in order to stop publishing the material. The code itself does not appear to be particularly sensitive, but Grayshift confirmed to Motherboard the brief data leak that led to the extortion attempt.

    • It’s not you, it’s Big G: Sneaky spammers slip strangers spoofed spam, swamp Gmail sent files

      Google has confirmed spammers can not only send out spoofed emails that appear to have been sent by Gmail users, but said messages also appear in those users’ sent mail folders.

      The Chocolate Factory on Monday told The Register that someone has indeed created and sent spam with forged email headers. These not only override the send address, so that it appears a legit Gmail user sent the message, but it also mysteriously shows up in that person’s sent box as if they had typed it and emitted themselves. In turn, the messages would also appear in their inboxes as sent mail.

    • Cilium 1.0 Advances Container Networking With Improved Security

      For last two decades, the IPtables technology has been the cornerstone of Linux networking implementations, including new container models. On April 24, the open-source Cilium 1.0 release was launched, providing a new alternative to IPtables by using BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter), which improves both networking and security.

      The Cilium project’s GitHub code repository defines the effort as Linux Native, HTTP Aware Network Security for Containers. Cilium development has been driven to date by stealth startup Covalent, which is led by CEO Dan Wendlandt, who well-known in the networking community for his work at VMware on software-defined networking, and CTO Thomas Graf, who is a core Linux kernel networking developer.

    • Hijack of Amazon’s internet domain service used to reroute web traffic for two hours unnoticed

      Between 11am until 1pm UTC today, DNS traffic — the phone book of the [I]nternet, routing you to your favourite websites — was hijacked by an unknown actor.

    • Amazon Wants to Put Some Junk In Your Trunk

      Amazon wants inside your home. It wants to let other people inside your home. Now, it wants to deliver packages inside your car. Don’t worry, though. This one probably isn’t for you.

    • Suspicious event hijacks Amazon traffic for 2 hours, steals cryptocurrency

      Amazon lost control of a small number of its cloud services IP addresses for two hours on Tuesday morning when hackers exploited a known Internet-protocol weakness that let them to redirect traffic to rogue destinations. By subverting Amazon’s domain-resolution service, the attackers masqueraded as cryptocurrency website MyEtherWallet.com and stole about $150,000 in digital coins from unwitting end users. They may have targeted other Amazon customers as well.

    • PyRoMine malware disables security & mines Monero using NSA exploits [Ed: Microsoft Windows works for the NSA. Now it works for any cracker out there.]
    • Email security in 2018
    • Should You Build Your Own DIY Security System?
  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Many Millions Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? Part 3: Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen

      In the first two parts of this report, I have estimated that about 2.4 million people have been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while about 1.2 million have been killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. In the third and final part of this report, I will estimate how many people have been killed as a result of U.S. military and CIA interventions in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

      Of the countries that the U.S. has attacked and destabilized since 2001, only Iraq has been the subject of comprehensive “active” mortality studies that can reveal otherwise unreported deaths. An “active” mortality study is one that “actively” surveys households to find deaths that have not previously been reported by news reports or other published sources.

    • Talk Nation Radio: Ray McGovern: Russia and U.S. Senators Want Disarmament, U.S. Media Does Not

      Ray McGovern explains how the media, the “blood-drenched arms merchants,” and the neocon “crazies” (like national security adviser John Bolton) have thwarted President Trump’s fledgling efforts, backed by three Senators, to respond positively to Putin’s offer to talk arms control.

      Ray also reveals information he’s learned from the ground in Syria about how many of those U.S., UK, and French missiles were shot down on April 14 before they reached their Syrian targets; he discusses the buffoonish l’Affaire Skripal with chemicals “of a type developed by Russia;” dismisses drivel from two Johns, McCain and Bolton, about alleged “Russian cyber-attacks” being an “act of war;” and Ray also give us a dose of nostalgia as he sings a bar from “Once in love with Amy.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Cameroon: Govt Cracks Down on Social Media Leaks

      “It is not only about those who are leaking official information, but there has been [a] systematic crackdown against all those who try to dissent in Cameroon,” he said. “So it’s a very alarming situation, and civic space in Cameroon has been closing very considerably in the last few years.”

    • The WikiLeaks Shop is Accepting Litecoin (LTC)

      The official merchandising outlet for WikiLeaks has announced that it now is accepting Litecoin (LTC) for purchases.

      Charlie Lee, Litecoin founder, has been on a recruitment drive of late, putting out the call for merchants and businesses to begin accepting the LTC digital token for payments and purchases. It appears the WikiLeaks Foundation has jumped at the chance, having previously adopted Litecoin for the acceptance of donations alongside Bitcoin (BTC), ZCash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR)

      Consumers may now purchase WikiLeaks-related merchandise through six cryptocurrencies, Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCC), Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC).

    • Court Summons Trump Campaign, Assange in Lawsuit by US Democrats – Documents

      The US District Court for the Southern District of New York has issued summons’ to 14 groups and individuals notifying them of the lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over alleged Russian interference and collusion with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election, court documents said on Wednesday.

  • Finance

    • Power-sucking Bitcoin ‘mines’ spark backlash

      But as the once-high-flying bitcoin market has waned, so too has the enthusiasm for bitcoin miners. Mining operations with stacks of servers suck up so much electricity that they are in some cases causing power rates to spike for ordinary customers. And some officials question whether it’s all worth it for the relatively few jobs created.

    • Mulvaney, Watchdog Agency’s Leader, Advises Bankers on Ways to Curtail It

      Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the bureau, also described the two types of people he was most responsive to as a lawmaker: constituents and the lobbyists who contributed to his campaign.

    • China, Russia Are Most Restricted Countries For Digital Trade, Index Says [Ed: Another "shame list" that seems a tad political, putting pressure on Russia and China based on how subservient they are to NATO/Western billionaires]

      A new European index measuring the extent to which 64 countries restrict digital trade found China at the top of the list, while New Zealand was the most open.

      The Digital Trade Restrictiveness Index was developed by the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE). ECIPE espoused the view in the report that restricted trade drives up costs for businesses and consumers, while free digital trade gives more access to consumers and helps business become more efficient and reach more customers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Hidden Hand of a Casino Company in Trump’s Contact with Vietnam — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

      Trump’s first call with the Vietnamese prime minister was arranged by Marc Kasowitz, a Trump personal lawyer who has another client with business interests in Vietnam.

    • Comcast-Owned MSNBC Blasted For 8 Minute ‘News’ Love Letter to Comcast

      Cohen played the starring role in selling regulators on Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal in 2011, crafting conditions it would later be discovered Comcast ignored at its leisure. Cohen’s secret weapon during that transaction was Internet Essentials, a program that promised low-income households $10, 5 Mbps broadband for a limited time should they jump through a laundry list of conditions. The program was frequently criticized for being intentionally hard to qualify for, though it provided Cohen an endless sea of photo opportunities to help portray Comcast as a bottomless well of pure altruism.

      Cohen’s minority and low-income advocacy schtick was so effective, he ultimately nabbed the title of “Chief Diversity Officer” to help further advertise his selfless altruism. Of course that title also conveniently lets Cohen tap dance around flimsy federal lobbying rules, which require an employee register as a lobbyist if they spend more than 20% of their time lobbying for a single client during any three-month span. And again, when you point this out, I’ve found that Comcast tends to get really upset with you.

      The reality is that Comcast would need to do a hell of a lot more volunteering and donating to counter the obvious harm most of the company’s terrible policies have on the country. It’s indisputable that the company’s attacks on net neutrality and privacy protections will drive up costs and harm diverse media outlets and smaller businesses. Comcast’s support of protectionist state laws also routinely undermine efforts to bring competition to under-served broadband markets, driving up costs for everybody in the internet ecosystem (but especially the downtrodden parts of the country Comcast professes to adore).

    • Throwing the Target of Trolls Under the Zamboni

      Ten young players from the Broncos Bantam A hockey team of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, along with six coaches and other team staffers, died on April 6 when their bus collided with a tractor-trailer in Western Canada. Because young, prairie hockey players died, the awful tragedy unquestionably stirred Canadian national myths—enough to trigger the second-biggest GoFundMe campaign ever for the survivors and victims’ family, eventually topping CDN$15 million.

      Any guess how this horrible accident could lead a troll army to attack a female journalist with rape and death threats—in the name of “respect” and “compassion”—as a national newsweekly that had published that journalist threw her under the Zamboni without hesitation? If your answer includes the words “Neo-Nazi” and “Trump,” you’re obviously no stranger to Reality 2018.

      On April 8, only two days into the GoFundMe campaign, when the total raised had reached CDN$4 million, freelance journalist Nora Loreto tweeted: “This is a lot of money.” A lot, she seemed to be suggesting, in comparison to funds raised for the victims of other tragedies; for example, it took 14 months for GoFundMe to collect $402,173 for the 19 wounded and the families of the six people murdered by the Trump-loving Quebecois terrorist Alexandre Bissonette at a Quebec City mosque in January 2017.

    • ‘The US Is Not at All Interested in the Welfare of the Syrian People’

      Talking about Syria, it seems, is not so much having a conversation as occupying a narrative. Either Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, is the sole source of Syria’s pain, those who oppose him represent the true will of the Syrian people and critical outsiders are benighted; or Assad, though flawed, represents the people’s will, the rebels are if anything more cruel, and backed by foreigners to boot. Because the US lies, Russia cannot be lying—or else vice versa.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Uber Might Stop Drivers From Looking Up Your Address History

      Your Uber driver literally knows where you live, and they can look it up if they forget. Uber is considering changing the second point.

      Uber drivers can currently scroll through their driver history and see the exact places they picked up and dropped off people. Drivers can access this information even if you delete your Uber account. This has enabled stalking and other violations of privacy by drivers.

    • Uber Plans to Stop Giving Drivers a Log of Your Exact Pickup and Drop-Off Locations

      In a pilot program launching soon, Uber will begin obscuring riders’ exact pickup and drop-off locations in the trip history displayed to drivers. Instead, it will display a broader location area.

      The change is intended to enhance rider privacy and safety, the first of several upcoming changes Uber is making to limit the exposure of users’ location data.

      Currently, Uber drivers are given a record of the precise drop-off and pickup addresses in their trip history. The addresses are stored indefinitely in a driver’s trip history, which enables them go back at any time and look at a rider’s address. That data is maintained even if a rider deletes their account and data from Uber.

    • ISO blocks NSA’s latest IoT encryption systems amid murky tales of backdoors and bullying

      Two new encryption algorithms developed by the NSA have been rejected by an international standards body amid accusations of threatening behavior.

      The “Simon” and “Speck” cryptographic tools were designed for secure data to and from the next generation of internet-of-things gizmos and sensors, and were intended to become a global standard.

      But the pair of techniques were formally rejected earlier this week by the International Organization of Standards (ISO) amid concerns that they contained a backdoor that would allow US spies to break the encryption. The process was also marred by complaints from encryption experts of threatening behavior from American snoops.

    • Encryption for the ‘internet of things’ and a setback for the NSA

      Expert delegates at an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) meeting in Wuhan, China, voted against plans to adopt ‘Simon’ and ‘Speck’ as standard block cipher algorithms.

      The encryption methods, intended to improve security in technology that make up the “internet of things,” had been championed by the U.S. delegation, including the NSA.

    • ISO rejects the NSA’s IoT crypto standard, believing it to be backdoored

      The NSA has a history of sabotaging cryptographic standards; most famously, documents provided by Edward Snowden showed that the NSA had sabotaged NIST security standards, but the story goes farther back than that: I have been told by numerous wireless networking exercises that the weaknesses in the now-obsolete Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP) were deliberately introduced by NSA meddling. And of course, the NSA once classified working cryptography as a munition and denied civilians access to it, until EFF got a court to declare code to be a form of protected speech under the First Amendment.

      Now, the NSA has been defeated at ISO, with its chosen ciphers firmly rejected by the committee members, who were pretty frank about their reason for rejecting Simon and Speck: they don’t trust the NSA.

    • Apple’s Consumer Data Collection Patents Prove that Data Privacy Risks Are Not Just a Facebook Problem

      In the current zeitgeist regarding the collection of user data by tech giants, a moment which has been fueled by concerns over Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Cupertino, CA-based consumer electronics giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been doing its best to appear to be a model citizen among the world’s tech titans. In the days following news of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he “wouldn’t be in this situation” when asked what he’d do if he were Facebook’s CEO at a town hall interview.

    • The Australian Bureau of Statistics Tracked People By Their Mobile Device Data.

      Remember the outrage about the ABS 2016 Census retaining real names and addresses? Maybe you thought the ABS got the message that the public seems to give more of a damn about privacy than public servants assume, and perhaps yanked themselves back into line?

    • Australian Gov’t Scooped Up Tons Of Cell Site Location Data To Track Citizens’ Movements

      Third-party records are almost always easily-accessible. They are subject to very limited protections. But generally when the government wants access to records, it’s because they’re targeting someone in a criminal or national security investigation. What few people expect is for the government to obtain this data en masse, then proudly proclaim its usefulness a couple of years after it’s already made use of it.

      Cellphone users weren’t informed of the government’s plans. And the telco made no effort to inform affected customers or give them an opportunity to opt out. While it may look like an innocuous effort to gauge temporary population increases linked to special events and holiday weekends, the information obtained could easily be mined to gain insight on traffic to places of worship, government buildings, airports, workplaces, and protests.

      Supposedly, the information has been anonymized. It obviously hasn’t been completely stripped of personal information. The slide deck [PDF] detailing the effort notes the data can be broken down by age and sex. The anonymization claim is made without any support from the ABS, which still has yet to provide any further info — much less a privacy impact assessment — via its website.

    • Why I’m Quitting Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple for a Month

      Despite my total dependence on these products, however, I also have a deep-seated distrust of the companies behind them.

    • The problem isn’t that Facebook is creepy, it’s that it’s creepy AND HUGE

      I’ve been giving some thought to how to break up Big Tech lately — what a competitive landscape would look like. I’ve been toying with the idea that we should test outcomes, rather than mandating measures: for example, there are a lot of people who can’t leave Facebook because it’s the only way they can access key services and communities. Maybe the answer is that any company whose users can’t leave it should be given a certain period to remedy that situation by whatever means it believes would work (e.g., creating an API that lets non-Facebook users interact with communities on Facebook), and when the time is up, evaluate whether the solution has worked, and if it hasn’t, hit the company with massive fines and give them another period to remedy the situation. Repeat until the company’s shareholders get tired and fire the CEO, or until no one has the “I can’t afford to leave Facebook” problem anymore.

    • I am not a number; I am a free man, OR, why you should never rely on social media

      In my post about switching to decentralized social media, I mentioned that I would later talk about G+.

      Yes, I know, most people don’t pay a lot of attention to G+ anyway, but that’s what really brought home something that I’d actually been saying since 2015: If you don’t personally own your website and data, you don’t have a website or data. Quite simply, you cannot rely on someone else for you to have a website, platform, or social media presence.

    • Oakbrook Center security scans license plates in its parking lots, raising privacy concerns

      Maass said potential privacy concerns over the type of system being used at Oakbrook Center include whether the system is being checked for cyber security, possible use of a third-party server for collected data, whether any stored photos taken may include more than a license plate, how long data is retained, whether notice of system use is posted and who is authorized to access data, including police.

    • Your Next Job Interview Could Be with a Racist Bot

      Maltby pointed out that employers have been misusing exciting new technology during the hiring process for decades. “Employers have a long history of falling in love with technology that promises easy answers to difficult decisions,” he said.

    • Gmail Is Getting a Long-Overdue Upgrade

      Google also plans to use artificial intelligence to identify the most urgent incoming emails, and allow you to limit mobile notifications to these. It will also try to identify mailing lists you can unsubscribe from by keeping tabs on how often you actually read messages from lists, and how long it takes you to open those messages.

    • Twitter announces updated privacy policy ahead of new EU laws

      The social media giant announced their new plans on Tuesday, but the policy update will go into effect on May 25 — the same day the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is set to go into effect.

    • The two-pizza rule and the secret of Amazon’s success

      AWS is large enough that it is dealt with on the same tier as the entire rest of the world. AWS is large enough that Netflix, a company that accounts for around a third of all internet traffic in North America, is just another customer.

    • Amazon will now deliver packages to the trunk of your car

      Amazon announced today a new service that gives its couriers access to a person’s vehicle for the purpose of leaving package deliveries inside. But rather than use smart locks and a cloud-connected camera to gain entry, Amazon wants to use the connected technologies embedded in many modern vehicles today. The company is launching this new service in partnership with two major automakers — General Motors and Volvo — and will be rolling out in 37 cities in the US starting today.

    • Amazon Will Start Delivering Packages Straight to Your Parked Car

      The two carmakers are logical partners for Amazon. GM has millions of cars that are wirelessly connected. With Volvo, the collaboration with Amazon is an expansion of a service that has been available in Sweden and Switzerland since 2015 through the Swedish carmaker’s Volvo On Call app.

    • Turns Out Lots Of People Want To Play The CIA’s Card Game

      Well, it appears we can both confirm and acknowledge that lots and lots of people want to play the CIA’s in-house training card game. As we announced on Monday, we’ve taken the available details of the internal CIA game Collection Deck, and are in the process of turning it a version you can actually play, which we’re renaming CIA: Collect It All. To see if anyone else actually wanted it, we put it on Kickstarter and set what we thought was a fairly high bar: $30,000. And yet, we hit that in about 40 hours and we still more than three and a half weeks to go. We’re a bit blown away by how many people are interested, and we’re committed to making the game as awesome as we can possibly make it. We recently posted an update to the campaign concerning questions around international shipping, since that’s been a big topic of conversation, so if you’re interested in that, go check it out.

      CIA: Collect It All on Kickstarter

    • CIA: Collect It All

      Ever wondered what it’s like to be a CIA operative? The CIA designed a classified card game which they use to train their analysts. They recently declassified it and we’re adapting the game so you can play it too.

      [...]

      This game is a collaboration between Techdirt and Diegetic Games. Techdirt has spent over 20 years reporting on a variety of topics including the CIA and its intelligence gathering, as well as the whole FOIA process — not to mention the importance of the public domain to encourage creative reuse of content. Diegetic Games makes storytelling and card games; it is Randy Lubin’s design studio. We’re excited to work together and bring this game to a wider audience.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Epic Responds to Cheating Fortnite Kid’s Mom in Court
    • The Noisy Frenchman

      In the summer of 1975 I was sixteen years old and sitting on the edge of the fountain in the Aviemore Centre, waiting to fix a kiddie kart when it broke down or the coin mechanism jammed, and reading a Penguin edition of The Quiet American by Graham Greene. It detailed the origin of the US entry into the Vietnam conflict as the French colonial hold weakened, and of course the plot revolved around a false flag bombing incident designed to facilitate American intervention. The introduction to that edition made very clear that the novel was closely based on true events by Greene – who was there in Vietnam at the time – and in my memory across 43 years it actually named and discussed the real life false flag bomb incident on which the book was based. I do not think the existence of the real false flag bombing at the heart of the story has ever been seriously disputed. The novel was quite startling to a sixteen year old boy.

      It was impossible not to recall The Quiet American while watching Trump and Macron give their presser at the White House yesterday. Reinstating the role of France, the former colonial power, in Syria though a continuing US/French military presence was the main theme, under the guise of “preventing hegemony” – clearly aimed at Iran. The haunting parallels to Indo-China are striking. So too is the fact that Graham Greene was a deservedly admired figure in British culture and society. The BBC and the Times never attacked him as a “conspiracy theorist” or a lunatic for writing passionately of a false flag attack. This was partly because everybody understood these things actually do happen, and partly because in the early part of my life political dissent was permitted without social ostracism. The latter is no longer the case and an orchestrated media is trying to eradicate the former knowledge.

    • How an Oregon Weekly Forced Release of Key Records in Murder Cases

      Oregon sued a tiny newspaper to keep records secret relating to the state’s release of defendants found “guilty except for insanity.” The paper prevailed and is using the records to explore a series of troubling cases.

    • Oregon Doctors Warned That a Killer and Rapist Would Likely Attack Again. Then the State Released Him.

      Charles Longjaw was being held at the Oregon State Hospital after being found insane. Oregon changed its interpretation of the law and he was released, raising questions about how states manage violent offenders with mental illness.

    • Oregon Board Explains Why It Repeatedly Released Killer From Psychiatric Hospital

      In response to our questions, the Psychiatric Security Review Board explains why danger alone is not enough to keep violent people with mental illness under state jurisdiction.

    • Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

      Armstrong, 28, happened to be at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home in Clearwater the day two detectives showed up with Phillip’s phone, she said. They were taken to Phillip’s corpse. Then, they tried to unlock the phone by holding the body’s hands up to the phone’s fingerprint sensor.

    • EU Commission Outlines Approach On Artificial Intelligence [Ed: EU Commission is wasting time on buzzwords. It's just "computers" or "algorithms". But when you put nontechnical politicians in charge you get this...]

      The European Commission today issued an outline of a European approach on artificial intelligence to “boost investment and set ethical guidelines.” The aim is to have a coordinated plan with member states by year’s end.

    • State Appeals Court Upholds Criminal Conviction For Twitter Harassment Targeting An Autistic Student

      Another fine example of man’s inhumanity to man: high school edition. Trash rando A.J.B. ended up with two misdemeanor charges and one felony stalking charge — the latter predicated on the victim’s disabilities. There are a few concerns with the resulting ruling, not to mention the events leading up to the criminal charges.

      To begin with, the victim was not even aware of the tweets until a school administrator brought them to his attention. The administrator had presumably been tipped off by other students. This led to the victim expressing suicidal thoughts and an extreme reluctance to return to school.

      This dovetails into the court’s weird interpretation of Twitter mechanics. This confusion over how Twitter operates may have played a part in upholding the charges and finding A.J.B.’s speech unprotected by the Constitution. Eric Goldman points out this misapprehension allows the court to bypass the student’s free speech defenses, one of which compared tweeting unpleasant messages was no different than “posting flyers on walls.”

      [...]

      The law is bad and the court is reading the law as the legislators wrote it. This could also be the way the legislators intended it to be read, rationalizing that no prosecutor would move forward with questionable charges predicated on a broadly-written law with an absurdly low bar for engagement (two tweets). Legislators either don’t know or don’t care that prosecutorial discretion means pursuing ridiculous prosecutions and overcharging defendants. It almost never means refusing to move forward with questionable cases. If the ruling is bad, it’s because the law invites bad rulings. The fact that the court doesn’t understand how Twitter works only makes it worse.

    • State Trooper Facing Murder Charges After Tasing A Teen Riding An ATV

      More than two dozen hours of recordings and 600 pages of documents obtained by the Detroit Free Press have uncovered disturbing details of the senseless killing of 15-year-old Damon Grimes by Michigan State Trooper Mark Bessner last fall.

      Lots of killings are senseless, including many of those committed by officers authorized to use deadly force. But this one was especially senseless. Trooper Bessner decided against all policy and reason to fire his Taser at Grimes while both he and Grimes — riding an ATV — were traveling at 35 mph down a residential street. To add to the insanity of his act, Bessner was the passenger in the cruiser. Having initiated the pursuit, Bessner decided to end it by tasing Grimes. The result was the complete, gruesome destruction of a human being.

    • California Can Build Trust Between Police and Communities By Requiring Agencies to Publish Their Policies Online

      If we as citizens are more informed of police policies and procedures, and we can easily access those materials online and study them, it’ll lead to greater accountability and better relations between our communities and the police departments that serve us. EFF supports a bill in the California legislature which aims to do exactly that.

      [...]

      Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a previous version of this bill, which had broad support from both civil liberties groups and law enforcement associations. The new bill is meant to address his concerns of the bill’s scope, and removes a few of the state law enforcement agencies from the law’s purview, like the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and California Highway Patrol, among others.

      We hope that the legislature will once again pass this important bill, and that Gov. Brown will support transparency and accountability between law enforcement and Californians.

    • The Legal Battle Over a $75 Boating Fine Where Liberty Itself Is at Stake

      The outcome of this case will impact one of our fundamental constitutional rights.

      On a pleasant May evening in 2016, Fred Karash and four friends were enjoying a boat trip on Lake Erie when, without warning, they were stopped by law enforcement officers and detained for more than an hour while the officers searched Fred’s 23-foot cabin cruiser.

      The officers, who admitted they had no reason to suspect the boaters had violated any law or regulation, claimed authority under state law to search any boat at any time on any Pennsylvania waterway to conduct a “safety inspection.”

      But that sort of unfettered discretion violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unwarranted and even vindictive government incursions upon our privacy by requiring that authorities have probable cause to search someone’s home or property. That safeguard, as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has recognized, “is second to none in its importance in delineating the dignity of the individual living in a free society.”

    • 18 Years Removed From Prison, and I’m Still a ‘Returning Citizen’

      While I am sure that this was not the last thing said to me before I walked past the gun tower and through the barbed wire fence at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill on January 12, 2000, it is certainly the last thing I clearly remember hearing upon my departure from prison.

      A friend of mine was waiting for me in the prison’s parking lot. I got in the car, and we drove silently for several hours towards Philadelphia where I was mandated to report to a halfway house, Community Corrections Center, for a minimum of 90 days.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • No, Net Neutrality Isn’t Officially Dead (Yet), And The FCC Is Stalling For A Reason

      My informed guess (supported by at least two industry lawyers I’ve spoken to) is that Pai is trying to buy time. Why? ISPs know that the FCC’s repeal is on shaky legal ground thanks in large part to bizarre FCC behavior and numerous ethical gaffes. ISPs like Comcast are also nervous about the fact that more than half the states in the country are now pursuing their own net neutrality rules. As such, ISP lobbyists and hired wonks are pushing for a fake, loophole-filled net neutrality law with one real purpose: pre-empting tougher state laws and preventing the 2015 rules from being re-established should the FCC lose in court.

      It’s likely the FCC bogged things down in bureaucracy intentionally to buy time for ISP lobbyists to try and drum up support for this bogus law. Unfortunately, as they have throughout this entire affair, ISPs appear to have misjudged the political environment here, and have faced a steep uphill climb in getting support for the crap law they wrote (incarnations of which are being pushed by Marsha Blackburn in the House and John Kennedy in the Senate).

      As ISPs grow more nervous about losing in court and state net neutrality efforts, calls for an ISP crafted “Congressional solution” have only grown. But by and large most net neutrality supporters on the streets and in Congress appear to not be falling for this little ruse, knowing full well that the chance of this cash-compromised Congress actually passing tough rules are virtually nonexistent.

      If you’re a fan of net neutrality, the best chance in saving the rules rests with a reversal by the courts during the looming court battle. Failing that, your best bet is voting in politicians that prioritize healthy competition, truly open markets, and consumer and small business welfare over monopoly protectionism and cronyism.

    • The FCC’s Bullshit Order Killing Net Neutrality Hasn’t Actually Gone Into Effect—Yet

      Among other things, the new rules would reclassify internet provision as a Title I instead of Title II information service, which would allow ISPs to implement paid prioritization programs, as well as block or throttle content from competitors or just about anyone they wager is using too much bandwidth. Broadband providers will mostly cease to be regulated by the FCC, and thereby be bound only by their own promises (the FCC cleverly passed most of its authority to penalize ISPs that lie to customers to the Federal Trade Commission, a separate agency ill-equipped to handle telecom issues).

    • Net neutrality is all but officially dead. Now what?

      The order is supposed to take effect Monday, following the commission’s publication of the final notice of the repeal in the Federal Register (which started a 60-day clock until the rules were removed). But only parts of the order are effective today. Significant parts still need OMB approval as part of the modified information collection requirement. The FCC will issue another order making it official when the OMB gives the green light.

      The most significant change resulting from the removal of the rules is the stripping away of the FCC’s authority to regulate broadband and the shifting of that responsibility to the Federal Trade Commission. Under the 2015 rules, the FCC reclassified broadband as a utility, which gave it the authority to regulate broadband infrastructure much as it did the old telephone network.

    • DOJ Investigating AT&T, Verizon for Making It Harder To Switch Wireless Carriers

      AT&T and Verizon have enjoyed a stranglehold over fixed and mobile residential broadband for years. They also enjoy a relative monopoly over broadband business data services, a market that services everything from cellular tower backhaul to ATMs. Given that both companies have a rich, deep history of engaging in all manner of dubious behavior to keep these markets as uncompetitive as possible, there would be absolutely no shortage of ammunition for regulators seeking to punish them on antitrust grounds.

      Given that both companies are politically powerful campaign contributors, that generally doesn’t happen, regardless of the party in power.

    • U.S. Investigating AT&T and Verizon Over Wireless Collusion Claim

      The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into potential coordination by AT&T, Verizon and a telecommunications standards organization to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers, according to six people with knowledge of the inquiry.

      In February, the Justice Department issued demands to AT&T, Verizon and the G.S.M.A., a mobile industry standards-setting group, for information on potential collusion to thwart a technology known as eSIM, said two of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details are confidential.

      The technology lets people remotely switch wireless providers without having to insert a new SIM card into a device. AT&T and Verizon face accusations that they colluded with the G.S.M.A. to try to establish standards that would allow them to lock a device to their network even if it had eSIM technology.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When fashion sought to protect itself through private collective action: recalling the Fashion Originators Guild

      The Guild was established in 1932 in the teeth of the Great Depression. After the laissez-faire administrations of Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, through his New Deal, signaled that solutions for economic ills could be found in collective action. The Guild can be viewed against this backdrop. Its members designed and manufactured medium to high-priced dresses, for sale to retailers, who selected the merchandise from dresses that were shown in various showrooms in New York City. The members claimed that their dresses were all based on “original designs.” Under U.S. law, there was no copyright or patent protection. As such, according to the Guild, other dress manufacturers, which were called “style pirates”, designed and sold so-called “unauthorized” copies.

    • Copyrights

      • Standard Ebooks Offers Public Domain Downloads That Aren’t Ugly

        This site gets the details right. Every book also has a beautiful cover made using public domain artwork. Books are proofread by an actual human, meaning there aren’t weird typos caused by the scanning process. Everything has complete metadata. And there are platform-specific downloads for Kindle and Kobo, meaning all features of those platforms are properly supported.

      • AG Campos Sánchez-Bordona denies communication to the public in ‘Cordoba’ case

        A few months ago, this GuestKat reportedabout yet another CJEU case that tries to capture the scope of the right of communication to the public within Article 3 (1) of the InfoSoc Directive.

        In ‘Cordoba’, the plaintiff’s photograph was freely accessible to all internet users with his consent on a travel-related website. A student of a German school used this picture (without asking for permission) in a written report for her Spanish class. The report was subsequently copied to the school’s servers and from there added to the (public) website of the school.

      • Music publishers score major victory in closely watched copyright case [Ed: Music publishers" is a very nonsensical way to refer to people who exploit musicians without actually making any]
      • Ninth Circuit appeals court denies monkey’s copyright claims

        Barring an en banc review or Supreme Court intervention, the three-year monkey selfie saga has come to a close, with the animal’s copyright claims denied

        The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the district court’s ruling that a monkey lacked statutory standing to claim copyright infringement of photographs known as the “Monkey Selfies”.

      • Academics Against Press Publishers’ Right: 169 European Academics Warn Against It – IVIR

        Academics from all over Europe give a final warning against the ill-conceived plans for the introduction of a new intellectual property right in news.

      • It’s Thanks To The Pirate Community That Amazon’s Attempt To Degrade Its Streaming Service Is Now Public

        It’s said that there is no honor among thieves, but it should be obvious that such a blanket axiom is bound to be at least partially bullshit. Still, this mantra gets applied to the pirating community by its enemies, with those that rip and/or view pirated content labeled as ungrateful kid-slobs, simply looking for any content they can gobble up without any payment whatsoever. Any value or benefit derived from this community is denied or ignored, with the spotlight being only on the inflated injury this same community inflicts on unimaginably wealthy companies and studios.

        Again, it should be obvious that this is all bound to be bullshit.

        In fact, we’ve discussed the potential benefits to be found within these communities often in the past. Pirate communities can be viewed as a sort of market study companies get for free, serve as a spotlight on under-served potential customers, and not to mention that this community often buys more content then does their non-pirating cousins. None of this is to excuse copyright infringement, of course, but rather serves to remind us that the world is not black and white, and is instead muddled, complicated, and mushy.

      • German Supreme Court: Adblocking does not violate copyright

        German newspapers had sued AdBlock Plus for everything including the kitchen sink, such as “unfair competition” and copyright violation, for letting users opt out of the newspapers’ annoying and insecure advertising. This week, those newspaper publishers lost decisively in the German Supreme Court.

      • German Supreme Court rules ad blockers legal, in defeat for Springer

        In its ruling the court in Karlsruhe struck down the case brought by Springer. It found online ad blockers to be legal, and overturned a lower court decision that operating a white list was tantamount to unfair competition.

      • German Supreme Court rules ad-blocking not unfair competition

        The German Federal Supreme Court has ruled that popular ad-blocking software AdBlock Plus does not break the country’s unfair competition rules

        The German Federal Supreme Court ruled on April 19 that popular ad-blocking software AdBlock Plus, which blocks banners, pop-ups and other advertisements, does not break the country’s unfair competition rules.

      • Thanks to streaming, recording industry revenues are back up to pre-internet levels, but musicians are poorer than ever

        Last year, the record industry gained an extra $1.4 billion in new revenues, mostly from streaming, restoring its overall revenues to pre-internet levels, when the labels had grown accustomed to reselling the same music every couple of years in new formats (vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD). Overall, streaming services remit $7.4 billion to rightsholders.

      • Global Recorded Music Revenues Grew By $1.4 Billion in 2017
      • MPAA Chief Says Fighting Piracy Remains “Top Priority”

        With a record international box office of over $40 billion behind him, MPAA chief Charles Rivkin has told movie exhibitors at CinemaCon that keeping a lid on unauthorized sites is one of his group’s main goals. Describing the tackling of piracy as a “top priority”, Rivkin framed the ACE anti-piracy coalition as a powerful group ensuring that movie makers maintain control and reap the rewards for their hard work.

      • Japan ISP Says it Will Voluntarily Block Pirate Sites as Major Portal Disappears

        A major ISP in Japan says it will begin blocking pirate sites voluntarily. There is no legal basis for site-blocking and the country’s constitution forbids censorship. However, NTT says that it has adopted “emergency measures” until the necessary legislation can be put in place. Meanwhile, one of the sites targeted has mysteriously disappeared, abandoning 100m monthly visitors.

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